County Attorney: voluntary statement is ‘not evidence’

Chase County Attorney Arlan Wine says he plans no action regarding an alleged statement made to a Chase County sheriff’s deputy on misuse of Imperial police laptops.
    “I’m done with it. I don’t plan to do anything about it,” he said.
    In an interview Monday, Wine said a voluntary statement given to Deputy Justin Mueller is “not evidence” and would not be admissable in a court hearing.
    The statement alleges that a police computer was used by Chief Ryan Wisnieski to view pornography.
    Names of the person who signed the statement, as well as an alleged witness mentioned in the statement, were both redacted (blacked out) by the county attorney. Wine said the names were redacted because the individuals are juveniles.
    Wine said if he entered the statement as evidence in court, “It would be thrown out as hearsay.”
    The county attorney said, however, he felt it was an allegation that should be checked out and not ignored.
    Wine said he could not recall which deputy first approached him with the allegations of laptop misuse. He first learned of it on July 27. The voluntary statement was dated Aug. 1.
    He said Sheriff Kevin Mueller was present “early on” in the discussions, “and asked what we should do” about the allegations made in the voluntary statement.
    Wine said he told the officers the statement was “pretty vague” and didn’t believe he could acquire a search warrant for the police computers based on it.
    “The indication I had from the Sheriff’s Office is they couldn’t find anyone who would testify to this first hand,” Wine said.
    “No one would talk to them,” he said.
    After learning the police computers were purchased with federal grant money, through the state’s Emergency  Management Agency, Wine said “perhaps Emergency Management had the right to review the laptops.”
    He said he suggested to Sheriff Mueller that he contact Chase County Emergency Manager Duane Dreiling.
    Wine said he has the report that the computers eventually were examined by technicians in McCook for  misuse, as per an agreement he signed with Imperial Mayor Dwight Coleman.
    “The report cleared them. I’m done,” Wine said.

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